tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC March 8, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST
i'll be back at 3:00 p.m. eastern. we're expecting kme ining comme the president at 3:30. i'll have a full breakdown when i come back. right now, kasie hunt hosts "andrea mitchell reports." right now on "andrea mitchell reports," can i get a witness? president trump asked key witnesses about their conversations with robert mueller's investigators. >> this gets into the gray area, where the president is once again creating more problems for himself. he doesn't want to follow the normal advice or customs and procedure that goes on in washington. stormy weather. nbc news learned just how far the president's personal lawyer has gone to keep porn star stormy daniels silent about her alleged relationship with donald trump. her attorney has the last word with lawrence o'donnell. >> at some point, lawrence, the president of the united states needs to answer the very basic questions relating to his relationship with ms. daniels.
he needs to do so just like clinton did. he needs to do so like gary hart and countless politicians have gone over the last 30 years. in the dark. widespread confusion in the west wing as the president says he will have a tariff announcement later today. surprising even his own staff, who spent their morning trying to track a moving target. >> i like conflict. i like having two people with different points of view. i certainly have that. then i make a decision. but i like watching it. i like seeing it. i think it is the best way to go. good day. i'm kasie hunt in for andrea mitchell in washington, where president trump kicked off his 11th cabinet meeting moments ago by doubling down on his push for steel and aluminum tariffs. then leaving the door open for one of his key outgoing advisers
to return to the white house inner circle. >> this is gary cohn's last meeting in the cabinet and of the cabinet. he's been terrific. he may be a globalist, but i still like him. he is seriously a globalist, no question, but you know what, in his own way, he is a nationalist because he loves our country. where is gary? >> thank you, sir. >> you love our country. >> i do. >> he's going to go out and make another couple hundred million, and then he is going to maybe come back. he might come back, right? >> absolutely. >> we'll be here another seven years, hopefully, and it's a long time. i have a feeling you'll be back. >> let's talk through all of this with nbc chief white house correspondent hallie jackson. hallie, what is your take away? that was a pretty gracious,
potentially, departure moment from the president there for gary cohn. not everybody has gotten, necessarily, that kind of a moment. what'd you make of it? >> reporter: gary cohn, a globalist and nationalist, right? who knew? it backs up what our reporting has been over the last 48 hours or so, which is that the door is open for gary cohn to come back into the white house in some capacity, in a different role. it is critical. i think what you saw is the president basically confirming what we have been saying and confirming it publicly, that gary cohn is not leaving on bad terms, but that they do not agree on the tariffs, which ties into the other big story of the day, of course. the president acknowledging that cohn is, what'd he say, not quite as strong on tariffs as we'd like. it is probably an un understatement. cohn is opposed to what the president is unveiling today, the punishing new tariffs. there is a question as to what is going to happen in three and a half hours from now. we got a hint from the president's remarks in the
cabinet meeting. thi he talked about canada and mexico. he said tariffs might not be necessary for them if nafta could be renegotiated to his satisfacti satisfaction. he said, we'll be flexible. also talked about flexibility in raising and lowering the numbers, 25% and 5%, country and country, as needed. so, this is probably reflected in your conversations with sources on the hill, the president has been, essentially, begged by republicans on capitol hill, including by some people inside his own administration, to make these tariffs more targeted, so more the scalpel and less the sledgehammer. it appears the president is moving in that direction. at 3:30, we expect to get more information. prior to that, sometime in the next little bit, we'll try to get more information. we'll share the information when we can. i have to tell you, tariffs a topic of discussion at the cabinet meeting. it has been a hot mess, as far as how this has unfolded from the beginning. from the moment when the president announced these
tariffs to right up until now, with real questions from inside the president's own inner circle of where he is going next. now, it apyres as though a lot of the questions have been worked out. like i said, we do expect to hear from senior administration officials shortly about what's going on. the president himself, obviously, at 3:30. you have allies around the world on pins and needles, waiting to see what's happening. you have people on the hill that have not been briefed about this huge policy move. they were in the dark until this morning. lots o moving pieces here and plenty of news coming out of the cabinet meeting. you heard him talk about bump stocks. heard him talk about gary cohn. you also heard him not answer a question, by the way, about don mcgahn and about the new "new york times" reporting related to the russia investigation, that the president had brought up the special counsel investigation with don mcgahn, as you eluded to at the top of your show. the president speaking with witnesses there. he was shouted a question at
theenthe end of that and didn't respond. >> can you take us behind the scenes just this morning? i think a lot of people on the hill would say you rightly called what's going on with tariffs a hot mess. >> reporter: that's not even an editorial thing. that's just based on our reporting. you know, i think it is highlighted by the president's tweet that came out. correct me on the timing on this, but i think it was right around 7:30. i have been making source calls in the morning and spoke with somebody maybe 25 or 30 minutes before that who indicated -- a couple folks indicated the opposite, that it was unlikely. >> the staff was saying one thing and the president comes out as kind of an administration of one almost. >> reporter: that's what it's been since the beginning. i do think, as we take a look at this tweet, i'm looking at the time stamp, 7:38, i was eight minutes off, but this in particular, listen, it is an administration of one. the president is the guy who is the decisionmaker, who can call the shots in a second. this is interesting because, again, this has been chaotic from the very second the words exited his mouth a week ago, that he wanted the tariffs, 25%
and 10%. it reflects, i think, factions inside the white house, particularly on this topic, and emphasizing here, this has real impliation ications on a global. what you're seeing in the last 30 minutes from the president is a signal he gets that and he is going to be a little more targeted and have more flexibility, based on what he said. we'll find out for sure later this afternoon. >> nbc's hallie jackson at the white house. thank you for that, hallie. joining me now, nbc national political reporter, mike memoli, on capitol hill, and justice and security analyst matt miller, former chief spokesman to attorney general eric holder. gentlemen, thank you, both, for being here today. there has been so much russia news in the last 24/48 hours. this new "new york times" report detailing discussions with reince priebus and the white house counsel, don mcgahn. matt, i'll start with you. what do you get the sense, where
is this coming from? is this the white house counsel essentially trying to protect himself? what danger is there for don mcdpan? -- mcgahn? >> it is a great question. the report says the president spoke to two witnesses, and both share the same attorney. william burke. so as you start to look at the story, it's not very hard to figure out where it came from. almost certainly didn't come from bob mueller's office. almost certainly came from those two witnesses. >> who else would know what mcgahn's personal conversations were with the president? >> another thing that is interesting about it is both of them felt the need, certainly through their attorney, to go back to bob mueller's office and report these conversations after they happened. this is one person in the white house counsel who still works in a senior job for the president. we're at the place in the investigation where people are more worried about getting crossed with the special counsel than they are about getting cross wise with the president of
the united states. >> significant statement. >> it is a significant thing. when you look at the justice department attacking a criminal enterprise, a criminal spear si, -- conspiracy, nobody wants to talk. the government breaks it down by coming to witnesses, showing them their criminal liability and getting them to flip, like, for example, how they did with george papadopoulos and mike flynn. sometimes you see people throughout the conspiracy make the decision there is no longer any reason to protect the person at the top of the con veer spir. we don't know if the president is in a conspiracy, but people are going out of their way to give information to the special prosecutor. >> we got a sense from all of this reporting throughout the last few months that, essentially, the president views mcgahn more like a personal attorney than a white house attorney. is there a sense here that there is a real danger for the president on the witness tampering piece of this, or in your view, is that too difficult of a case to moprove?
>> the specifics of conversations as reported doesn't look like witness tampering. he asked about the conversation, rather than directing what he ought to say to bob mueller. there is something problematic about asking mcgahn to put out a statement, denying what he said to the special counsel, it seems, and threatening his job. he did eventually back jodown, t it is problematic. there can sometimes be gray areas, which is why you don't have conversations with witnesses. bob mueller in any conversation with any witness is going to ask, did the president talk to you about your testimony? he may call some witnesses back he already talked to and said, after your testimony, did the president ask what you said? did he direct you the lie or cover anything up? to the extent there is gray area, it becomes a new legal problem for the president. >> mike memoli, i want to ask about the other big story we are talking about here. that is, the "washington post" reporting on mueller taking a look into this meeting in the
seychelles between the blackwater founder, erik prince, george nader, a businessman, and a russian investor with ties to vladimir putin. adam schiff talked a little bit about this this morning. the "washington post" account seems to differ from the report we're seeing now. take a look, and then we'll talk about it. >> i don't know whether the public reports of what mr. nader may be saying are accurate or not. all i can say is if the reports are accurate, there is clearly a significant discrepancy between that version and what we heard in erik prince's testimony. >> so, mike, what do you view as most significant about this "washington post" report, and what do you think the demands are at this point from those people on the congressional committees you cover every day, want to see happen next? >> well, this would be significant, that the special counsel, mueller, and his team are investigating not just the meeting in the seychelles but
the meetings at trump tower between trump transition officials and at least intermediaries of the russian government, if not russian government officials themselves, to establish a back channel between the transition, between the future trump administration and the russian government. in the case of this meeting involving erik prince and that nader was a part of here, what adam schiff is wanting to do here, on a day when we were expecting the focus to be on corey lewandowski, potentially one of the final witnesses to appear before the house intelligence committee before they wrap up their investigation, is to say, there is more work to do here. when erik prince testified before the committee in november, he cast this meeting with officials and then a russian financier as incidental, back to back, not at the same time. what the reporting would do is contradict the testimony before the house. adam schiff says, we need to bring prince back to the committee, and we need to hear from nader, now cooperating with
the special counsel probe. the counsel would have to agree to that. they may bring in an additional witness when they looked to be wrapping up. >> do you feel members of congress feel this, the original explanation from erik prince, that this was all koiall, you k koins -- coincidental? do members of congress say, hey, this doesn't pass the smell test? >> absolutely. what is interesting about the erik prince interview before the house committee is we know what was said. it was one of the few where we have a transcript of the interview. during the course of the interview, both democrats and republicans at least expressing skepticism about his account. first of all, why would he go to the seychelles at all to meet with the crown prince of the united arab emirates?
why wouldn't he go to the country itself? second, his account is there was an hour meeting with the uae, and then they say, by the way, there is a russian guy at the hotel bar. talk to him about business deals. it is not something a lot of members here, officials here, necessarily buy. adam schiff put that into words today, saying, one o these accou -- of the accounts is not true, either what prince told the committee or what is being told to the special counsel. we know all the interviews are under oath, and it'd create potentially additional legal hurdles for them. republican on the committee, there's been reluctance to press the issues. lewandowski is here today, in part, because when he came in january, he simply said, i'm not prepared to answer these questions. they're taking a second stab at him together. whether there is going to be follow through after the fact if he doesn't cooperate further, doesn't appear to be the case. >> at least it was bill clinton who said, if there is a turtle
on the fence post, probably didn't get there by itself. do you think this is a coincidence? >> if the story is correct, erik prince didn't tell the truth. a committee finding the truth would have him back in. if they concluded he lied, make a criminal referral to the department of justice. it is an important point. if he lied to bob mueller, we know what mueller would do. mueller would charge him with false statements and try to get him to flip. there is a question whether mueller can investigate his lie to congress, if it was a lie, without a referral. doj never investigated a lie to congress without giving a criminal referral. it is an important thing, what the committee does next. >> mike and matt, thank you for your insight today. i reesappreciate it. coming up, taking action. florida lawmakers take a big step in the fight for gun control. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. liberty mutual stood with me
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the students coming together, and we all agree, you know. we all want the same thing, you know. i think they understand we're not stopping. we're not going to back down until we get what we want. >> i think it is a good start, and we just have to move forward from here. i'm really proud of the kids from this neighborhood. they really pushed for this. they deserve it. i think they get part of the credit because they were able to move the needle when nobody else could. >> a major break throuthrough i battle over gun control in florida. three weeks after the parkland
massacre, lawmakers raised the age to purchase all firearms to 21, allowing some teachers and staffers to carry guns on campus and banning bump stocks. it marks a major shift in a state where the nra wielded significant influence. the bill goes to governor rick scott's desk, who hasn't said whether he'll sign the bill into law. joining me now is ben cardin, the top democrat on the foreign relations committee. thank you for your time today. i appreciate it. >> good to be with you. thank you. >> senator, the florida legislature has taken action in the wake of this tragedy. the u.s. congress, despite pressure from the students, still has yet to do anything about it. mitch mcconnell has not said if he'll bring any gun legislation to the floor. democrats have said that they won't go along with him putting just that narrow measure to fix the next background check system on the floor without a broader
debate. is there any chance the congress is going to actually debate or do something about guns this year? >> absolutely. you saw what happened in florida. i think people gave little chance the florida legislature would pass gun safety legislation, and that i done this. these students are being heard. they are changing views in america. we see the overwhelming support of miamerican bes behind what t students have to say. it is hard not to respond in a positive way when students say they want to be safe in their schools and expect us to take action. inaction is unacceptable. yes, i do hope that senator mcconnell is listening. we'll have a large march here on the 24th. their voices should be heard, and we should have pass sensible gun safety legislation in washington. >> a few minutes ago, the president at a cabinet meeting, in some ways, seemed to take credit for what florida has done so far. take a look at what he had to say, then i'll ask you about it.
>> i want to congratulate the state of florida and your representatives on some very good legislation that's been passed. i guess they've been listening to me a lot more because, unexpectedly, they passed concealed carry for some very special teachers that have a great ability with weapons and with guns. they passed that. it was somewhat surprising to people because they didn't go in thinking about that, but i guess they liked what i said. >> do you think that the president deserves credit for some of what has happened? he has, of course, been speaking about guns, not necessarily the provision to arm teachers, but other comments he made at the open meeting lined up to where democrats are. >> let's not worry about credit. let's see leadership from the president. let's see leadership from the members of congress. let's pass comprehensive background checks. let us do something about these military style weapons. if we do that, more than happy
to have the president at a bill signing take credit. we want to get this done. >> senator, you also, to change gears a little bit, sit on the foreign relations committee. we we have been talking about major new reports on russia and the mueller probe specifically. what do you make of the president reportedly talking to some of the witnesses in the mueller probe about what they talked to the special counsel about? >> you know, every day, we learn more details about contacts between the president or the president's team or its campaign and russia. each time, it just feeds into the need for mr. mueller to complete his investigation without any interference and let the facts lead where they may. we also need to protect ourselves against russia. they're actively engaged in this country in 2018, and we saw the reluctancy of the executive branch to use resources provided
by congress in order to protect ourselves. yes, we want to make sure there is a complete investigation by mr. mueller without interference. we also need to take steps to protect ourselves against mr. putin. >> do you think the president is what is standing between the efforts you all in congress have clearly made to try and avert meddling from foreign powers, specifically russia, in the next election, or is it something else? i mean, is this -- do you get the sense that the order to not spend the money you all authorized the state department to spend is coming from the top? >> well, i authored a report in january that detailed mr. putin's activities in europe and the united states. that report was very clear, to say that the president of the united states, unlike the leaders of europe, has not acknowledged the threat to the united states in a way that you're using all the agencies of government to protect ourselves against mr. putin. i believe the president has been
way too slow in acknowledging the risk of mr. putin, has not used the tools congress has provided, either in sanctions or to defend ourselves against these attacks, and we do need presidential leadership to recognize the risk factors of mr. putin. >> senator, i have to ask you about another story that's impacting the white house. that is, stormy daniels, the adult film star who has now sued the president. sarah sanders at the podium at the white house yesterday saying there had been arbitration. she said mr. trump had won in relation to this case. how troubled are you by the allegations that this hush money was paid, and do you think it is possible that the president broke the law in dealing with it, perhaps election campaign finance law? >> every day, we see additional stories that involve the president of the united states. i hope that mr. mueller will concentrate on his mission, do it, get it done, let the facts
lead where they may. i hope congress will do its responsibility to protect us against russia's engagement in the united states. these additional issues that come forward need to be investigated, but they shouldn't distract us from the current investigations taking place. >> senator ben cardin, thanks so much for your time. really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, battling the storm. more on how the president's legal team secretly upped their defense against porn star stormy daniels. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc.
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there are new developments in the growing scandal surrounding president trump and his legal battle with porn star stormy daniels. nbc news learned in late february, the president's lawyer, michael cohen, secretly obtained a temporary restraining order against daniels. the order issued by a private arbiter, bars daniels from disclosing confidential information related to what her lawyer calls a, quote, hush agreement, designed to keep daniels quiet about the intimate relationship she alleges to have had with mr. trump over a decade ago. the president has denied any relationship with daniels.
let's get the inside scoop from associated press white house reporter and msnbc political analyst. and betsy woodruff, msnbc contributor and reporter for the "daily beast." i want to start with a big part of why this story has developed so quickly over the last 24 hours. what sarah sanders had to say about it yesterday from the podium at the white house. take a look. >> did the president approve of the payment that was made in october of 2016 by his long-time lawyer and adviser michael cohen? >> look, the president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true. this case has already been won in arbitration, and anything beyond that, i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. >> does he know about the payment at the time? >> not that i'm aware of. >> you said there's been arbitration won. by whom and when?
>> the president's personal attorneys. for details on that, i'd refer you to them. >> sarah sanders acknowledging there the arbitration. here was stormy daniels' lawyer on "the last word" last night talking about this. >> any claim by the administration that donald trump won an arbitration is no different than me claiming that i won the super bowl a few weeks ago. it's co if you look at the temporary restraining order, there's one party adverse to pp, which is my client, which is ec, the entity that mr. cohen set up to facilitate the payment. to hide the payment, at least that's our position. donald trump is not even a party to the arbitration. how can you win an arbitration that you're not even a party to? it's impossible. >> jonathan, i'll start with you on this. what do you view as the significance here? at the very least, it seems that
we now know that this has been something that michael cohen has been very involved in, actively trying to manage just in the last few weeks. >> that's right. i think it coincides with this story suddenly getting more and more mainstream traction, right? it is an unthinkable thing, that a porn star is alleges an affair with the president of the united states. for weeks, it was sort of a secondary story. main outlets were reluctant to touch it, perhaps because of the details, or they were overshadowed by so much else going on, of course, the russia probe. it seems to be changing. in some ways, michael cohen's maneuvers here, to keep it quiet have, in fact, thrust it to the forefront. as we learn and revolutions have come out, and credit to the "wall street journal" who has been a lot of the leading reporting on this, in terms of the hush money, the suggestion he tried to get reimbursed from the president and has yet to do so, and, of course, sarah
sanders' comments yesterday about the arbitration, again, seemed to confirm, wait, this is something that's happening. for a lot of media outlets, it justified their ability to report on it. the president himself though still has said nothing. this is something he has denied privately to people around him but has given no public statement. it is unclear he ever will. >> jonathan, is it your sense that sarah sanders essentially made a mistake when she did this? she is typically pretty careful about essentially providing exactly what the line is that she's there to provide and not going any further. is your sense that this is something she went out there prepared to say, or was it something she was aware of and then, in some ways, by accident, prepared it at the briefing? >> we've asked the white house for an explanation, and we have yet to receive one. she looks down at her notes, looki ining to be reading, whic suggests she was prepared to talk about it. it drew a reaction from the
room, as you can see. the one reporting suggesting, what did you say? let's go back to that. it is unclear whether or not that was intentional. we're trying to sort through that. i know there's been some reporting today that the president was personally angry at sarah sanders for saying that. that's what white house officials are saying is not the case. he is agitated this has a story and believes it is a distraction, another attempt to deflect from all of the accomplishments of his administration. we don't believe that he's personally holding sarah sanders responsible for the comment. >> betsy, let's talk a little bit more about michael cohen, who has been described at varying times. obviously, he was the president's personal attorney but he is obviously much more than that. you have reporting he may have received inside information from the house intelligence committee? >> my colleague, spencer acura m -- acuramen and i broke the
story, that after cramer gave testimony, several days later, cramer's attorney got a phone call from michael cohen's attorney. michael cohen's attorney told cramer that someone in the house told him that he might have information about the dossier that would be relevant to what michael cohen needed. the attorney for the aide was peeved to get the phone call. it was evidence that michael cohen's lawyer somehow got very sensitive, inside information from this investigation that someone gave to michael cohen and his lawyer in hopes that it would help them, basically, defend themselves. it is really unusual for leaks like that to get out. it's caused concerns. >> i also want to ask you, betsy, we have some new pictures of paul manafort arriving at a courthouse in virginia. his first appearance in alexandria federal court where he is facing tax and fraud charges. he pleaded not guilty in a related case in washington. that trial is set to start september 17th.
what is the significance here of what manafort is walking into, and his future seems pretty grim. >> it's not a great position for him to be in. one of the biggest differences between the legal proceedings he's going through in virginia versus d.c. is that in virginia, he's facing tax charges. going back for months and months. my sources have been telling me this is one of his biggest legal liabilities because there's been tons of reporting that manafort had foreign bank accounts and received perceived payments from inside the united states. nothing illegal about that. but public service announcement, if you have money in a foreign bank account, you have to tell the irs. right now, mueller's team alleges that manafort did not. that's pretty much an open and shut prosecution, if they can prove basic facts. that's going on today. >> there have been e-mails that showed he lied to his accountants about whether he had the foreign accounts. >> don't lie to your accountant. >> ill advised. >> betsy and jonathan, thank you so much. i appreciate it. coming up, failure to serve.
top veteran affairs officials under the microscope after a bombshell report detailed stunning conditions at washington's va hospital. this is "andrea mitchell repor s s" only on msnbc. a type of irregular heartbeat not caused by a heart valve problem. but no matter where i ride, i go for my best. so if there's something better than warfarin, i'll go for that too. eliquis. eliquis reduced the risk of stroke better than warfarin, plus had less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis had both. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily... and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical
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oscar mayer deli fresh ham has no added nitrates, nitrites or artificial preservatives. now deli fresh flavor is for everyone. like those who like... sweet. those who prefer heat. and those who just love meat. oscar mayer deli fresh. a fresh way to deli. the department of veterans affairs is under fire after a bombshell report from the office of inspector general. it detailed shocking, systematic failures at the washington medical center. the report says patients were
put under anesthesia before doctors realized they didn't have the right equipment. staff sometimes ran across the street to borrow supplies from a private hospital. over three years, the medical center paid $877,000 to rent in-home hospital beds for just three patients. often, patients had to wait months, even up to a year, to receive prosthetic devices. the dcva says it is working to improve accountability. i'm joined by the ceo and founder of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. paul, i want to start here with your broad takeaway from this report. i mean, this seems to be something that we have been hearing about over and over and over again. when we were supposed to be a talking about reforms and progress, this seems exactly the opposite. >> here we go again. i just got back to washington late last night where we had our
annual storm the hill advocacy event. it is the 11th year. every year, we're talking about va scandals. this has been a problem for now president trump. it was a problem for president obama. it was a problem back to president bush, as well. the va is constantly a problem of instability. now, we've got a total failure of leadership at the v.a facility, literally in the shadow of the white house. it is in their backyard. there has been a leadership failure of accountability. this is why advocacy matters. we appreciate you bringing attention to this. this is the issue that is below the headlines when other chaos is happening at the white house, but it is critically important and means people's lives. >> excellent point, considering the chaos that dominates here in washington, that this is something that deserves focus. yesterday, there was talk about what happened. let me show you the clip, then we'll talk about it. >> this, to me, represents a failure of the va system at
every level. a failure at the facility level. a failure at the network or what we call the visin level, and a failure at the central office. >> he didn't say this was a failure of his. do you think he needs to take personal responsibility here? he is not necessarily new to this. i mean, he was, in many ways, brought in to fix this stuff. >> absolutely. i mean, leaders are responsible for everything you do and everything you fail to do. i actually met with the secretary personally yesterday for about 30 minutes, and i told him our members are extremely upset by this. they're outraged. they're disappointed. he's a holdover from the last administration, so he can't say he wasn't around. it was literally miles away from the headquarters. you know, this is a total failure of leadership. the second damning ig report that's been focused on the va in recent weeks. more could come. the leadership is in a fragile place. some are calling on him to
resign, and we haven't heard much from the president either. he has to talk about what he'll do to sure up the situation. he made it a campaign priority. we need to hear from him on this and the broader challenges facing the va, including issues like suicide and women's issues. national women's day today. we're trying to change the culture at the v rara and he's silent. sounds like he may be blocking the efforts to make it more inclusive for women in the military. >> it's something i've been personally following because i work with one of your colleagues. i would commend everybody to take a look at hashtyour hashta. at the cabinet meeting today, he talked about it at the convention in 2016 and made this promise. >> i will create a private white
house hot liline. could keep me busy at night, folks. this could take the place of twitter. a lot of truth to that. it is answered by a real person 24 hours a day to make sure that no valid complaint about the va ever falls through the cracks. >> quick fact check there, paul, has it happened? >> definitely not taken the place of his twitter account. i don't think he is answering the phone. if he had, getting complaints, they were from a couple miles away. check on twitter. look at what i've been retweeting the last couple months. you can see veterans are frustrated. there is high-quality care and good people inside the va, and it is important but we need to reform it and need leadership to do it. we need his focus. he's not talking about it today. he has to be talking about it when times are bad, not just
when he's on the campaign trail. it should be a non-partisan issue. looking at both sides to bring attention to this in the midst of the chaos. if it wasn't the normal state of affairs of the white house right now, this would be top, breaking news. this would be wall to wall on every news channel. because of the other chaos, our veterans are below the radar and we need leaders to step up and show they care. >> great point. thank you very much for your time. we'll keep paying attention to this important story. >> appreciate it. coming up, spy games. a former russian operative and his daughter poisoned in an attempted murder plot. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc.
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you wanna play again? - anncr: prevagen. healthier brain. better life. today, a former russian spy and his daughter are in critical but stable condition after being poisoned by a nerve agent. in what top british officials are calling a, quote, brazen and reckless act. nbc's keir simmons is in london and has been covering this for us. i think it's safe to say we here are all fascinated by the details of this story. obviously it's a very difficult story for this man and his family. can you take us through what you
see as the most critical points here and who is this man? >> yes, brazen and reckless is a description by senior government minist minister, the home secretary here. it's that kind of detail that we've been getting today. rather than specifics. so it suggests they have some awareness of the kind of attack this was. how the poison was administered. another aspect that same senior government minister, describing this nerve agent as very rare. now, that is important because it suggests that government experts are going to be able to narrow down perhaps even where it's from and maybe that explains the description of it as brazen. because if a nerve a gent was used that was going to -- if they knew whoever was behind this was going to be possible to trace, then clearly they perhaps didn't care that they would
be -- at least they would be traced, if you like. and of course the fingers are pointing at russia. sergei skripal was a former russian spy. he had been working with the british. he was jailed in russia. he was sent to the uk as part of a spy swap with a number of russian spies who were sent from the u.s. a spy exchange if you like. he'd been living here safely. and then suddenly this attempted assassination, which leaves him and his daughter yulia sitill i critical condition in the hospital and is an indication how powerful the poison was. a police officer who was a first responder is still in the hospital though improving, we're told, simply because he came in contact with them initially. and we now have learned today police wearing hazmat suits have sealed off a grave where a number of relatives of the family are buried, so they are
also now clearly worried about how they died and trying to protect themselves as they investigate that. >> we here in the u.s. have been covering russia largely as a political story, in addition to a foreign policy story, because of what's gone on with the president. if there's any connection, do we know anything about whether this man might be connected to putin or others? i know you can only -- your law enforcement sources are only saying so much. >> yes, there's a limit to what they're saying. they are clearly trying to close it down. here's the reason for that. it's because you mentioned the politics of it. the politics is just waiting in the background to explode. because if it is established that this was the russian state that president putin in that case would have clearly known about it, the british will have no choice but to react to that and they are already talking, the prime minister of the uk, talking about acting, you know,
heavily, if that is -- if that turns out to be the case. now, why would the russians do this? why would they risk being caught? perhaps some are speculating, that i speak to, that this is president putin turning up the heat on the west and perhaps, if you want to call this brazen, then if it is the russians, the most brazen actor behind this is president putin himself. >> nbc's keir simmons with a look at this fascinating and very def cifficult story. more ahead on msnbc. e same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time for power e*trade. the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. looks like we have a couple seconds left. let's do some card twirling twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online.
in case you haven't heard, today, march 8th, is international women's day. to mark the occasion, we had to bring you this scene from the uk. where after the opposition leader in parliament jeremy corbin was critical of theresa may for meeting with crown prince of saudi arabia around international women's day. the prime minister responded with this. >> first of all, can i thank the honorable gentleman for telling me it is international women's day tomorrow. i think that's what's called man-splaining. >> that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow the show online on facebook and twitter twitter, @andreamitchellreports.
craig mitchell next. i'm sure he will not be man-splaining the news today. >> good afternoon. feeling the heat. right now, former campaign managers being grilled on capitol hill about russia. that comes on the heels of not one but two big reports on the special counsel investigation. one, about secret meetings that happened before the election. the other, about the president's behavior since this investigation started. and what's the deal? this afternoon, the president appears ready to make a major announcement that could have far-reaching consequences for the u.s. economy but just hours before, the white house said the details were still being finalized. and stormy silence. new pressure from trump's lawyer to keep stormy daniels quiet about an end matt relationship she says she had with the president. and silence from republicans on the hill about this scandal. we start on the one subject president trump see